Tomb Raider:Firefall Words Can't Describe my feelings

Associated parks:
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Friday, March 18, 2005 11:33 PM
Tomb Raider:Firefall
Gold Season Pass Preview
March 18th, 2005 Time:7:45-9:00pm
Temp: 50 degrees
Weather: Clear skies, partial moon

On the way to Kings Dominion this evening, I told my wife, this ride better be worth the four hour trip from Germantown, MD (normally a two hour trip in non-rush hour but my wife is a Kindergarten teacher and couldn't leave earlier than 3:30). Boy was I surprised. This is by far the best themed ride I have seen at a mid-atlantic theme park to date!

Where do I begin, let me take you to Kings Dominion, it's dark outside. The rides in the Congo section of the park were operating and the park opened Scooby Doo for the kiddies to little to ride Tomb Raider.

The ride operator announces all clear, a few seconds later the music begins and the Huss Top Spin begins to raise. After reaching the top of the ride you quickly spin back through the ride and back to the top. A couple of blasts of the water jets and you tumble backwards several times and back up to the top again. Queue the fire and water jets and you start slowly descending back towards it. More fire and water come up as you get closer to the bottom, the water sprays just enough to get you wet and if your on the end you might get a little more wet. The ride sequence might vary a little from what I wrote, but you get the jist of the ride. It does seem like it's a good ride program. Since I've never rode a Huss Top Spin before, I'll let those that have decide if it's insane or not. Total ride time according to my camcorder 2:22 or there abouts.

The theming of this ride is awesome!! The park really did a great job of timing the music to the ride with the special effects and swinging movement of the ride.

However, the ride doesn't appear to be completely finished. There seems to be some sort of flame thrower on the right side of the ride that wasn't running this evening and some of the fake stones haven't been put back together. Other than that, the ride looks pretty much finished.

I did snap a few pictures. You can see them here. Sorry, my digital camera sucks at taking pictures at night and some of these are a little blurry but you will get the jist of what the ride is like. I'll have more pictures Sunday evening.

It was nice to see the park open Volcano:TBC, Scrambler, Scobby Doo Haunted Mansion and Avalanche. My wife and I had a good time this evening and can't wait to see the rest of Kings Dominion on Sunday. In the meantime, tomorrow, it's off to BGW for opening day.

*** Edited 3/19/2005 11:18:15 AM UTC by coasterguts***

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Friday, March 18, 2005 11:54 PM
Wow...it does look great! In my opinion, the fire alone would make it just as good if not better than the one at PKI. Anyways, any of you out there that have ridden them both care to compare? Is the one at PKD not as good as, just as good as, better than the one at PKI? Or are they too different to compare? I've been on the one at PKI and thought it was one of the greatest rides I had ever been on. Seems the one at PKD should be just as good.
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Saturday, March 19, 2005 6:26 AM
Oh! Coaster Lover! I wish you could have been there. It was simply awesome! I think the only thing that could have made this any better would be to have Laura Croft herself make an appearance. The whole Congo area of the park is going to be an exciting place to be at night. Unfortunately, the Tomb Raider Grill wasn't open so I couldn't get any pictures of it.
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Saturday, March 19, 2005 11:19 AM
I just need to clear somthing up for myself here. But does the ride run some sort of special program. Or is it your typical Huss TopSpin programs + all the added scenery and special effects.
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Saturday, March 19, 2005 10:30 PM
I was hoping for huge rocks, hidden ride parts, amazing que, but it looks like we got a standard Huss... eh, I'll reserve my judgements till I can get over to PKD and ride....
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Sunday, March 20, 2005 1:48 AM
Cool. Thanks for sharing the pics! The ride looks great!
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Sunday, March 20, 2005 10:17 PM
SFDLdan, as far as I know, there is no special program (I heard from a fairly reliable source that it's the same program used on Riptide at Knott's Berry Farm, the first suspended Topspin). Like I said in my TR, it's fairly hardcore, and does match the soundtrack most of the time. When the platform goes down and you first hear the tribal beats, if that doesn't get your heart racing a little, I'm not sure what will. It's a pretty bizzare experience to have the floor drop from underneath you on a Topspin. Also, the lack of backup restraint is slightly unnerving (even though there is the ratchet lock, a secondary lock, and in case that all fails, a seatbelt that connects to the harness from the seat).

I agree with The Mole, that I was expecting the same things, but once I saw the ride in person, it's just too cool for words. There's a lot of detailing that looks much better at night, such as the extensive detailing on the underside of the carriage (similar to picture 156). Wait until you see the waterfall (on the side facing the booth), and the eye carved in the "stone". The "viewing area" is very nice also. It's just a great place to chill and watch the ride and fxs, which in someways is even more fun than actually being on it!) I can't wait to go back in a few months and see the finished product. *** Edited 3/21/2005 3:33:44 AM UTC by Intamin Fan***

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Monday, March 21, 2005 12:17 AM
For that "oh so cool" underside of the carriage image, see this pic...

http://www.sfafans.org/Tomb%20Raider/imagepages/image39.html

So, lets get some more details. Better ride on the side facing the midway or the side facing the other way? How good is the capicity? How bad were the lines? What's the "reride" value? Any nice queue line themeing? Better at night or day? How fast are load times? How does it compare to PKI's?

Inquisitive minds MUST KNOW!! Besides, it already seems my line-up is pretty booked this year and I won't be hitting PKD until at least next year, unless things change...

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Monday, March 21, 2005 4:01 AM
See my TR for just about any of the questions you asked. For the ones I didn't list, it's absolutely worth re-riding. It's very comfortable, and a hell a lot of fun. No queue themeing. The day/night question is tough, but I think I'd go with nightime, due to the fire effects. Load times were slow, but it's a brand new crew and it takes a lot of coordination between the three attendants (one guy uses a radio to communicate) and the booth. Give them some more time and practice and it'll get faster. Comparison to PKI's? There is none. PKD's version blows PKI's out of the water. Again, do you want colored lights to represent lava, or do you want real flames? Lastly, lines never got bad yesterday at all (20 minutes at the worst?). I think this ride was intimidating a lot of people. When you see how it sets up for the last series of flips, you'll understand why. It's a great spectator ride. It'll be interesting to see how many people warm up to it over the season. *** Edited 3/21/2005 9:09:29 AM UTC by Intamin Fan***
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Monday, March 21, 2005 4:22 AM
Coaster Lover, to add to Intamin Fan's comparisons to PKI's version I totally agree with him that this one is sooooo much better. The PKI version, to me, seemed pretty clever, but just way too gimmicky. Yes, as a whole adventure experience, the PKI one has better theming throughout (queue, ride, exit), but I say gimmicky because during the ride itself it felt like the Giant Top Spin was mostly being used to give you a scenic tour of the different parts of the temple (the Buddha guy thingy, lava and the stalagtites). You know, scary lava, sharp pointy ceiling, flip around a couple of times rather slowly........OOOOOHHH I'm scared!

I feel bad bashing the PKI version like this, considering we got the morning ACE walkback for the ride, but if PKI had built the version that sits a PKD indoors at that time, I believe that ride would have been so popular that just about every Paramount Park would have one by now. Just a thought. My opinion of course.

When I got off the PKI version, really the only thoughts going through my head were, "That was it?!, and "I'm so freaking glad we didn't have to wait 2 1/2 hours to ride that"! *** Edited 3/21/2005 9:26:52 AM UTC by go with gravity***

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Monday, March 21, 2005 9:07 AM

Coaster Lover said:

So, lets get some more details. Better ride on the side facing the midway or the side facing the other way? How good is the capicity? How bad were the lines? What's the "reride" value? Any nice queue line themeing? Better at night or day? How fast are load times? How does it compare to PKI's?


I'll give my version here, even thought it probably doesn't differ much from the ones above:

I think the better ride is the side facing the midway. You see the fire, you see the water and most importantly you see the "awe" of those standing, watching and admiring you for having the courage to do something they don't feel they can do.

The capacity is 38 riders. I never saw a line stretch into the queue on Sunday. However, I'm concerned that at peak season, the queue may not be big enough for this attraction. I suppose tensabarriers are a possibility since this is a new attraction and the queue will probably be big enough after this year.

Reride Value. I'm going to reride again.

I don't know how to answer the queue line theming question since the ride isn't finished. There is some pictures of several pieces of the ride on PKD Place that haven't been setup yet. I don't know where they go in the ride. Let me put it this way, if they don't do anymore theming in the queue then what they already have then I will severely disappointed in the theming of the queue.

I have to say this is a must ride at night more than a must ride during the day. The fire effects are spectacular at night and the soundtrack at night really add a fright factor. I-Fan mentioned the starting of the soundtrack and seeing the floor lower gives you that feeling. For me, it's the cranking noise (similar to that of an old steel door to a dark room in a castle) that gives me the fright factor.

Load times, they aren't the fastest but I wasn't expecting breakneck pace at this point. I think they will improve in time.

I can't compare it to PKI's since I have never been to PKI.

One last note, those of you concerned you may not fit in the seat, there are two seats outside the que.

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